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The Comedian
Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I checked out the Hot Toys Comedian last month, but Jeff Parker has another look at this exceptional figure tonight. Take it away, Jeff!

Here I am hot on the heels of Mike’s great low-down for this figure, but what are reviews without differing opinions… that said, on the whole we seem to agree on most things with this release, especially the sculpting and paint apps which are almost beyond reproach, in other areas it seems the twain shall not meet.

I’m sure Hot Toys have a master plan… at least I hope they do. Whilst some licences get multiple figures some just get touched upon. I suppose a lot of the decision making will be set in stone about what figures will be manufactured well before we get to even hear about it.
Why, well because of the need to work on prototypes and secure license agreements weeks and sometimes months before an announcement is finally made.
But then, in these ever changing times (especially in an economy like the one we are all experiencing globally right now) a lot of the decision making will be founded on reaction to the announcement of a the license, pre-orders and then sales once it hits the market. So with all those factors coming into play it begs the question… will the Watchmen license get the love… and more importantly the number of figures it deserves… nay NEEDS!



















So far we just have Silk Spectre II, and now she’s joined by her daddy, everybody’s favourite misogynistic sociopath dressed up as a superhero … Edward Blake AKA The Comedian!

There have been no announcements yet on any of the other Watchmen, there’s still a lot of rumours that a leaked photo of the Hot Toys offices shows a figure of Rorschach under development… so there is hope for him, but what of Ozzy, Doc Manhattan, and most importantly, for me at least Night Owl.

Well, while we wait for any further announcements, lets look at what we have in hand, he’s a character that’s hard to feel anything for other than pity and disgust… but he still has a cool outfit, so he can’t be all bad!

Packaging - ****
This follows the same design aesthetic and layout as the Silk Spectre II figure, so that makes me a happy bunny (though it might not sit as well with Mr Crawford) so it’s heavily reliant on black and yellow. The front has a monotone image of The Comedian aiming his grenade gun with a bright primary yellow banner baring the Watchmen logo. This yellow stripe carries around the side and onto the back where we have another black and white image of the figures facial portrait along side a full body image of the figure in colour with a spot gloss varnish to make it really stand out from the matte black box. The inner section slides out to the right in a slipcase style.

The front is a large window showing the fully dressed and constructed figure, dissected by the bright yellow banner. The back has another monotone image of the Comedian alongside full production credits of the Hot Toys team involved in bringing him to life. The quality of the card used here isn’t as thick as some of Hot Toys finest boxes, especially the DX and M-Icon series, but the fact it is in effect double thickness because of the slip-case make it more than robust enough to make sure it will get to you in tip top condition, and the actual design work is fantastic utilising some very stylish use of images and typography.

Sculpting - ****
When you read the production details you’ll see this is one of Yulli’s sculpts, so that generally let’s you know you’re in for a treat, and as per usual she doesn’t disappoint. Blake was played by Jeffery Dean Morgan and from what I can see this is a near spot on portrait of the actor in character… and oh what a character.

Edward Blake is a lecherous, amoral narcissist who’s not averse to a little ‘officially sanctioned’ murder, not to mention rape and torture. There isn’t a shred of decency in the man, and Yulli has actually managed to get these character traits across in one ‘creepy’ sculpt. This is of The Comedian in his later years, so we get the greying temples, hint of jowls, a double chin and that distinct scar down the right side of his face that he received in the bar in Vietnam. His hair is worn in a swept back style, quite long and half over the ears. The mouth is sculpted in a lascivious grin, teeth bared in what is halfway to a sneer; his black domino mask half hides his cunning and devious eyes. Even though his eyes are disguised they still manage to display plenty of character, they’re positioned straight forward but looking up slightly, meaning he’s at his best when posed with his chin down, head tilted slightly to one side with his signature cigar chomped firmly between his teeth. You’ll find the small cigar included has a tiny flat peg protruding from its rear; this lines up with the far right hand corner of his mouth and is simply pushed into position. It’s a firm enough hold for general posing, but be aware when moving him about as it could easily be dislodged.

The detail work is as always sublime with breathtaking fine work on the textures for his stubble and spiv moustache, a simply outstanding sculpt.

He also comes with a selection of four hands; all are sculpted in his distinctive fingerless leather gloves with steel knuckle guards and metal panels on the backs. Two are in gun grip positions, then we get another left hand in a general grip and an extra gesturing hand for the right that also doubles as his stogie holding hand. A nice selection that works well with the accessories supplied.

Paint - ****
Once again Mr JC Hong comes up with the good. This line of figures is most definitely deserving of a ‘cult’ status, regardless of how well they sell over the next year or so. I have a very strong feeling that in future these will become very popular figures, maybe even grails to the ever growing ranks of Watchmen fans, and as such they really needed to be given a top class paint job… and I’m glad to report that so far they very much have!

OK, OK I admit we only have two figures so far… but they have to be planning the rest… right… RIGHT… C’mon Hot Toys you’ve just got to give us a full line up… but please don’t even consider stopping till we at very least have Rorschach and Night Owl!

This captures Blake in his mid to late forties, so as I said his hair is dark brown streaked with grey, his skin is painted really well showing subtle mottling, freckles and age spots, but not just on his face, as this figure utilises the same body that was used on Wolverine. You can see pics of it in this review here, so we get the paint job carrying on down the neck to his chest, back and arms. I’m pretty sure it covers his whole torso, but I’m not going to undress him to find out!

The domino mask is painted ultra crisp at its edges, in fact looking at it with my linen tester it would appear that it’s painted as a separate item then stuck in place, it matches up perfectly but ‘very’ close inspection makes this seem to be the case. Like Bat Man he wears black make-up to the edge of his eye, but we get to see the fine pink line of his eyelids then the super glossy eye itself. This release is also a bit a first (at least I think it is) as we haven’t had a portrait with bared teeth before, however having seen this I hope when the character demands it, we will see plenty more. They are picked out in an ivory colour with fine and subtle shadow lines between them, there’s even the hint of some gums running along their top edge, the lips are then picked out in warm flesh tones that compliment his skin colouration perfectly. His moustache and chin stubble is then gently painted in to merge with the flesh tones, it’s all as masterful as we have come to expect from Hot Toys.

The hands are all cast in the flesh coloured plastic, then the leather is painted in black over the top with some weathering and scuffs, finally they’re finished off with the steel armoured panels. Top job!

Articulation - ***1/2
As I mentioned this comes on the same body as the recent Wolverine figure, and I gave that figure a *** star rating, but having lived with it for a few months I now feel I was a little too harsh. I’m still not saying it’s up there with the classic True Types, but it answers a very specific brief very well. So while having a much-improved aesthetic it still manages a great range of mobility. Plus it has to be said that Edward Blake is not the action man that Logan is, sure he can rumble with the best of them, but his advancing years coupled with a costume that’s so snug it would make many a mans eyes water, he just doesn’t need the dynamic range that Wolverine did.

So if you want a full breakdown on all his joints I’d recommend you just read the articulation section in this review here where you’ll discover that by using that same body, this figure is just about capable of striking most of the signature poses from the movie… well, apart from when he jumps from Archie landing in a deep crouch on bent knees but that’s not exactly high on my list of desired poses.

The only real restrictions come from the outfit, especially in his trouser region, but it’s all put together so beautifully, managing to look so very close to the screen worn outfit I can definitely live with it. The arms pose well in general, but you’ll have to futz and tweak to get some good positions with the rifles, especially in high aiming/firing poses. It is just about doable, but as I said just take your time and coax them out, don’t try and force anything and you’ll get there in the end. I noticed that by lowering the elbow pads and gently manipulating into the desired position without the weapon worked best, then just slide the weapon into place once you’re happy with how he is posed.

An interesting piece of trivia is that Morgan actually wore a muscle suit while playing the part of Edwards to help bulk him out and give better definition to his arms, if you check out this pic here you can see some strange ripples and bunching of the flesh.

Outfit – ****
Blake started out as a vigilante, like all the other Watchmen, but ended up a mercenary, being used by the US government for all kinds of messy wet work, even utilising his talents alongside Doc Manhattan as a troop rallying figure head during the Vietnam war… well, in the skewed alternate reality of the novel anyway.

As his character matured and evolved so did his wardrobe, he went from the Jester themed fabric outfit he wore as one of the Minutemen to a more militaristic, verging on fetish S&M uniform for his years as a serving Watchman.

It seems to have been designed with maximum protection and ease of movement in mind. So we have predominantly bare arms apart from his gloves, elbow pads and those iconic stars and stripes shoulder armour panels. The elbow pads are constructed of soft flexible rubber whilst the upper armoured panels are made of a more rigid plastic, held in place with fabric straps, these attach to his body harness at the top of the shoulder, the harness runs down the front and back to join to his belt. This belt has a large protective buckle at the front then flares out at the sides where there are two magazine pouches (sadly there were no spare magazines to put into these), for his brace of pistols which also hang from the belt on a pair of twin holsters, these are a snug fit so take care when inserting and removing, but better a tight fit than rattling about. The back section of the belt has a double row of loops to hold 14 removable cartridges for his pump-action shotgun. Above this feature, hanging from two metal D rings is the leather back holster for his shotgun, into which it slides snugly as well. The left hand bib strap on his harness has the iconic yellow badge, but sadly for licensing reasons it doesn’t bear the classic smiley face (they are also omitted from the grips of his pistols), I know I’m not alone in thinking this is a bit of a shame, but it can be a relatively easy fix if it’s important to you… and even though I’m a box-fresh kind of collector, even I am tempted to get my permanent black tipped sharpie out to add those sorely missed details.

His ribbed vest and leather trousers are both made of flexible rubber, which fits tightly but still allows for a reasonable range of movement whilst keeping an excellent aesthetic. The vest is quite sculptural in an angular kind of way, forming his implied musculature into very geometric and perfectly symmetrical forms, the row of tiny steel clasps that run up the front and back are also separately stuck on as small plastic elements. The trousers are sculpted to mimic leather grain with all the heavy duty sewn seams and ribbed flexible panels on his thighs, knees and ass, and it all works very, very well, helping Blake look like he has super developed leg muscles purely by suggestion. Over the trousers he wears a pair of vinyl knee pads formed to grip the joint while being held at the back with elastic, and lastly there’s his heavy duty biker style boots which are covered in straps, buckles and protective guards, his left boot even having a knife sheath strapped to it.
So, it’s a more complex outfit than you might initially think on first inspection, but a closer look shows yet again just how much work has gone into making this outfit look as perfect as possible, I was going to congratulate whoever was behind it, but strangely the outfits construction isn’t credited on the box?
So, whoever you were, I salute you, another mini masterpiece!

Accessories - ****
For the Comedians look here Hot Toys have gone for a specific scene in the movie, it’s the one mentioned above, just after Night Owl has hovered Archie above the rioting crowd and Blake jumps down to help disperse it in his own inimitable style. So, while I admit there is a part of me that would have liked an extra sculpt of a younger head, dog tags and perhaps the flame thrower that was not to be the case.

However the items we do get are perfect for this screen specific moment, and what we actually have in the box is-

- Tactical full body harness with holsters
- Shotgun (with sliding pump action)
- 14 removable shotgun cartridges
- Boot knife with a knife sheath
- Grenade launcher with opening chamber and adjustable strap
- Two custom pistols
- Sixteen smoke grenade cartridges with a cartridge belt
- Cigar
- Two pairs of interchangeable gloved hands
- Figure stand with The Comedian nameplate and WATCHMEN logo
- Extra hand pegs

That’s Hot Toys official list, but for me the tactical harness is more intrinsically linked to his outfit, likewise is the knife sheath as both come attached to the figure straight out of the box. Everything else is definitely in the accessory camp though.

The cigar, though small is very important part of the characters look, giving him that nonchalant air of a man whose a constant pleasure seeker… even in the midst of a gun fight… perhaps even specifically in the midst of a gun fight.

He also has the brace of twin .45 pistols presented to him by president Nixon for services to his country, these have sliding cocking mechanisms, cockable hammers and removable magazines. I said above these are also missing the smilies and inscriptions on the grips, but if you have a steady hand and the inclination to include them, you’ll find the details in this photo here. Although he poses with them well and they do look very cool, mine will be remaining holstered, as will his Ithaca 37 shotgun in the slide in holster on his back.

Why?

Well, because as cool as these weapons are, he looks at his best when fully kitted up with his arsenal positioned about his person, smoke grenade bandolier slung over his shoulder and the grenade launcher in hand. The grenade launcher has a swivel catch and can be opened to put the smoke grenades inside, there’s also a flip up sight and an adjustable strap.

As always he comes with the standard Hot Toys black figure base bearing the character name and a bold Watchmen logo reversed out of it in bright yellow, nice for those that want it, but he stands just fine without it.
A good description of the Comedians entire arsenal can be found over on the Internet movie firearms database (IMFDB)
 
And as for all those extras I said I would have liked at the beginning, perhaps we’ll get another younger version of the Comedian further down the line masked and unmasked would be cool and an extra cloth outfit from the Minutemen wouldn’t go amiss either.

Value - ***1/2
Even though the Comedian is ‘officially’ a DC product Sideshow did have him for $149, but he has long sold out. It would seem that DC Direct didn’t want to carry him, as it might have been too much competition for their own ‘deluxe ‘ 13” figure… and considering their, quite frankly ‘pitiful by comparison’ figure weighs in with a mighty asking price of $125… a mere $25 less than the Hot Toys version… I think they made the right move (the DCD figure can however be found on clearance for a fraction of this cost on other retail websites).

In it’s own way the DCD version does have it’s own charm, and for a Watchmen completist it actually manages to look like a figure that Ozzy might have sold through Veidt industries. But if you are after a small facsimile of the character then it just has to be the Hot Toys figure. Plus, the Sideshow price really is only to be looked at as the ‘official’ RRP, with just a little searching you can find it with other on-line suppliers for quite a bit less and there are some fantastic prices on eBay.

Fun Factor ***1/2
This can be looked at in a number of ways, as he can pose pretty well, he has a good selection of relevant accessories plus the sculpting and paint apps are up there with Hot Toys finest, but there is no way he could be considered as something for the sand box. As a plaything the price tag is too high, many of the elements are far too fragile for little hands and why would any kid want a figure of Edward Blake anyway… and perhaps more importantly if your kid DID want a figure of Edward Blake shouldn’t you be seriously concerned?

No, this is not a toy… well, not a kid’s toy anyway, this is once again very much an adult collectable, and he’ll look great (if not a little bit creepy) posed next to Silk Spectre II… but he’ll look even better when Hot Toys have filled out the ranks.

On his own I’d give him just short of a full score, but if we ever get a full Watchmen line up… well, then the fun factor will go through the roof… please make it happen Hot Toys… pretty please.

Overall - ****
I’m basing my final score on being able to pick him up for $135 or thereabouts, which was very doable on pre-order, in fact there are some even better prices than that on eBay right now. So for that price, at this level of quality and with the cool accessories he has to be a full score figure. I guess peoples idea of good value differs from person to person, but the Comedian is so well put together that I’m sure any fans of the graphic novel or the movie will be 100% blown away by the figure, he’s virtually perfect.

The only glaring omission is the faces on the tiny Smiley badges, but it would appear that dark corporate forces conspired to keep this Hot Toys figure from displaying them… it’s a damn shame, but what can you do. I feel the same way I did about Ed Scissorhands and ALIEN Kane, I’d rather have the figure to the best of the ‘legal’ boundaries than no figure at all, and at least this one is a dead easy fix!

Where to Buy -
You can always get on the Sideshow waitlist which often comes through for people, in fact they just got Silk Spectre II in on a second chance offer, or you can try hooking up with some of Michael’s sponsors, where you’ll find him for the prices listed below-
 
Urban Collector - $149.99

Big Bad Toy Store   - $159.99

Forbidden Planet - 126.99

Or you can try eBay where I’ve seen some great buy it now prices ranging from $120 to $190.






This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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